Giving up

That Garmin Vector ad had been haunting me for weeks on my FB front page (how did they know?). Yes, I had been following the power meters closely ever since a friend of mine purchased the Polar/Look pedals about a year a go. I’m generally pro measuring what really counts, and contra letting any sort of analyzing or testing get the upper hand of the exercise itself.

However, I understood that I live in a place with no mountains within a two hour flight, and not even a 10 minute uphill within a day’s car trip. So in order to be prepared for the mountains, I have to find ways to fake them. Time trial training has too many uncontrollable variables (not least the weather) and my heart rate isn’t reactive or stable enough to be used in judging my race performance or as a training gauge, hence the interest in power meters.

Then again power meters are expensive, and they’re either integrated into the bike (bottom bracket) or a wheel, which reduces their portability when traveling or swapping bikes or wheels. Also, full utilization of the power meter requires lots of riding both in training and when racing. Thus, it doesn’t make sense to have it just on your #1 bike or #2 wheels.

Placing the power meter in the pedals makes a lot of sense: at best, it’s a two minute task to swap them from one bike to another, assuming calibration doesn’t take too much effort. The obvious downside is that the pedals aren’t the most sheltered part of the bike. From what I’ve heard from users of the Polar/Look pedals, the calibration isn’t as smooth as I would need it to be, and the communication between the power meter and the bike computer isn’t based on open architecture but rather Polar’s in-house system. That means you’re tied to Polar computers, and effectively that alone makes it undesirable from my point of view. (As an aside: My technical understanding is very limited, but I’m very much pro industry standards, open architecture, common interfaces and the users ability to choose the products, and to decide which parts and when to upgrade. And to my understanding Polar is pretty much everything else. Good luck to them; too bad they’re not listed – it would be too tempting to short the stock).

So when Garmin finally announced that their Vector power pedal was ready for shipping, I was excited – to put it mildly. Too bad they’re shipping at a leisurely pace, so there’s limited first hand information available. What I’ve been left with is reading a ton of reviews, blogs and discussion forums, not least the thorough work done by Rainmaker.

After lots of research, internal reasoning, mind wrestling, not involving her in the discussions and following the start of the indoor trainer season, I placed the order. Hopefully I will get the goods next week. Report to follow. Meanwhile please don’t tell me how stupid I was.


2 thoughts on “Giving up

  1. Gerry

    Olli, I’m very glad to read of our new purchase and not ONLY because this means I will get one more review of these things before I pull the trigger myself! Looking forward to hearing how they work in practice.

    Your lack of mountains is something not to be taken lightly, as you evidently aren’t. But, as you say, there are ways of nearly simulating them, I guess, and using power should be key in succeeding at it.


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